Suppression, the deliberate exclusion of improper thoughts or needs, plays a significant but often under-recognised role in addiction. This article delves into the psychology of suppression, exploring why individuals suppress thoughts, feelings and emotions and the outcomes of such suppression, particularly in the context of addiction.

Understanding Suppression

Suppression involves consciously pushing away unwanted thoughts or emotions. Unlike repression, which is unconscious, suppression is a voluntary form of forgetting. Individuals might choose to suppress memories or feelings that are painful or uncomfortable.

People suppress emotions for various reasons, including avoiding immediate pain or discomfort, adhering to societal or cultural norms that deem certain feelings inappropriate or as a personal coping mechanism to deal with overwhelming situations or feelings.

In the Context of Addiction

In addiction, substances often serve as tools for suppression. Individuals might use drugs or alcohol to numb painful emotions or escape reality, creating a cycle where emotional suppression and substance use reinforce each other.

Feelings of guilt, shame and self-blame are commonly suppressed in addiction. Additionally, fears, anxieties and unresolved trauma are often masked by substance use.

Initially, suppression can offer temporary relief from emotional pain and create a false sense of control over one’s life and feelings.

Over time, the psychological impact of suppression can exacerbate mental health issues. Physically, it can lead to increased dependency and related health risks. Socially, it often results in isolation and strained relationships.

Recovery from addiction requires confronting and processing suppressed emotions. This is often a challenging but essential step towards healing.

Various therapeutic approaches can help in this process. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aids in understanding and changing thought patterns associated with suppression. Mindfulness and emotional regulation techniques help individuals manage and express their emotions healthily. Group therapy and peer support provide a platform to share experiences and learn from others.

Family and community play a critical role in supporting individuals through their recovery, providing emotional support and understanding.

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Recovery involves developing emotional intelligence, which includes the ability to recognise, understand and manage one’s emotions.

It is key to learn healthy ways of expressing emotions, such as through art, journaling or conversation.

Self-care practices and positive lifestyle changes can also support the process of emotional healing and reduce the need for suppression.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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